On one of several undignified visits to the bathroom early on New Year’s Day, I saw what looked like a wrapping from a chocolate bar lying on the floor. Because none of my resolutions for 2022 involve trying to be less of a filthy animal, I went to kick it under the bed. The wrapping reared up and lunged for my foot, which was not altogether unexpected given the events of the previous evening. But this was no low-grade hallucination. It turned out to be a deadly Central American scorpion. Incensed at being disturbed, he went on a single-minded mission to hunt me down and murder me with his sharp end.
Being South African, I shouted and swore at him repeatedly. Being only familiar with threats issued in Spanish, he continued trying to stab me. The commotion woke my daughter and her husband who were asleep two floors down in their villa bought with what I suspect is drug money. My son-in-law not only has no fear of things that creepeth and crawleth, but he actively goes in search of the little savages so that he may photograph them, macro-like. He puts his lens right up against their evil snouts and takes their picture. For some reason, they are almost always accommodating. Were I to attempt it, they would undoubtedly try to kill me.
Yes, I know South Africa is presently afflicted with locust plagues, unidentified arsonists and the Zuma crime cartel, but scorpions are infinitely worse. The son-in-law rushed upstairs and screamed as he walked into my room. I had clearly underestimated the severity of the situation and joined in the screaming. It turned out that he was reacting to the sight of the unclothed me. Apparently this was not something he had ever expected to see in his lifetime. He said he’d sooner deal with a thousand predatory arachnids than go through that again. This makes no sense when you consider that my willy played a starring role in the making of his wife. That sounds wrong on so many levels and I shan’t mention it again.
Speaking of which, I find the razing of parliament quite exciting. Admittedly, there are many terrible things that capture one’s fascination when viewed from 12 000km away. I would be considerably less excited if, say, I lived near a national key point knowing that intellectually challenged agents provocateur like Duduvanka, untouchable in every sense, were out there exhorting dad’s ragtag rebel army to destroy the little that still works.
Patricia de Lille was first out of the gates to congratulate the firefighters. “I cannot thank their hard work enough! Thank you to these brave individuals ,” she gushed in broken English, as the blaze inexplicably went from under control to out of control in the space of a few hours.
Look, we all love a man in uniform. But these aren’t accountants who were suddenly called away from their families to help out. The clue is in the name of their occupation. They literally have one job. It’s kind of expected. On a slow day, they don’t fight anything at all. You really don’t need to fawn. Unless, of course, we have grown so accustomed to civil servants not doing their jobs properly that when it does happen, it’s a cause for minor celebration.
“More than 80 of them!” she shrieked. Where did they all come from, these men and women who fight fires? Are they on the payroll? What do you mean we forgot to feed and water them? Can we keep that out of the media?
Patty, who is the minister of public works, which is a silly title because most of the public doesn’t work, was at the side of our gelded mule of a president when he visited the bonfire of the vanities and said Cape Town and the Western Cape were at least one city and province in the country that worked. So many poorly drafted pieces of legislation languishing in limbo went up in smoke that comrade president must have been a bit high. How else could you explain such wanton praise for the opposition? Is he a plant? If so, what kind? My money is on a cactus. Both of them focus more on surviving than on rapid growth.
I’m not a massive fan of old buildings and I don’t really understand history, which is why I am doomed to repeat it, just like I repeated Grade 9 after failing history. But it would be nice to find out who is behind the many acts of sabotage and subversion committed after Don Jacob and his capos and consigliere were booted from office.
Anyway. I’m in a rustic beach bar on the sultry, palm-fringed edge of the Pacific Ocean and the doe-eyed waitress has just brought me another cold Imperial. I’m trying to care about things. I really am. But it’s not easy.